Psychodrama Needs Evidence-Based Research

Rebecca Walters hvpi at
Wed Apr 26 09:12:52 PDT 2017

You are most welcome.


Rebecca Walters

Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute

156 Bellevue Road

Highland, NY 12528 


Please note new email address:  <mailto:hvpi at> hvpi at

Visit our website at: <>   



From: edwschreiber at [mailto:edwschreiber at] 
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 11:35 AM
To: Rebecca Walters; 'Adam Blatner'; 'David Moran'
Cc: 'Grouptalk'
Subject: RE: Psychodrama Needs Evidence-Based Research


I find these comments from you Rebecca (all of them) very helpful.
Thank you-


-----Original Message----- 
From: Rebecca Walters 
Sent: Apr 26, 2017 9:17 AM 
To: 'Adam Blatner' , 'David Moran' 
Cc: 'Grouptalk' 
Subject: RE: Psychodrama Needs Evidence-Based Research 

Sam Klagsburn, MD, gave the keynote at the ASGPP conference in NY years and years ago…he spoke then about the need for research to meet the standards of evidence based. This is not new and has been an issue for us for a long time. We absolutely need research that is published in peer viewed journals. But the kind of research we need… is not easy to do that. For example, Walter Baile and I have published several articles on the use of sociodrama in medical education and teaching empathy skills. These have been published in respected medical journals. And yet, the positive results reported were based on participant evaluations of the workshop at the end of it, not on an independent assessment of the increase of their skills. So how valid was this? And this research was done at a major academic medical center. We discussed trying to create a more valid tool, with a pre and post test, etc….the reality? Too expensive, too time consuming, too complicated. So we did the best we could. 


But there are additional reasons, I think, of why psychodrama has lost its lustor.

If PD training costs about $20 an hour, than the cost of it plus supervision will total $17-18, 000. So there is certainly the cost factor impacting people’s interest in training. When I was in training my employer was happy to pay for all or part of my training. We are talking about the 1970s, early 80s. I was also given a flexible schedule so I could attend. Things have changed.


But things have changed in other ways, too. Most social work and counseling training programs no longer require students to be in their own therapy. Most recent therapists have been trained to do solution focused, problem solving counseling, DBT, not necessarily deep healing work. The interest in doing one’s own deep, personal work has declined.  Training to become a psychodramatist requires us to do our own deep, personal work. There is reluctance on the part of many to enter into such work. People want quick fixes. For their clients and for themselves. They want to learn techniques to improve what they do, not enter into a ten year course of study of their inner lives, inter personal relationships and the psychodrama method.


Others relish the opportunity to create community, heal deeply, develop better relationships, learn the method in its fullness. 


For some people, learning psychodrama, doing our own deep work, provides meaning to our lives, yes? It offers personal fulfillment and a profound learning of this marvelous method of ours. As Zerka said, the goal of psychodrama is to live psychodramatically.


For others, their interest is in workshops where they will learn how to use action to teach, do psychoeducation, role train, improve their group skills, warm people up, use a little empty chair….I think of these as skill building trainings. Very little deep personal work, just lots of practice.

My experience is that there is a certain percentage who come to our skill building trainings and end up becoming psychodrama students. Others take away some needed new techniques and skills and, importantly, a new respect for psychodrama.


Psychodrama and action methods are so adaptable. There is room for all sorts of approaches. Maybe we can stop trying to prove either approach wrong. Psychodrama can be many things to many people and why not, as long s it is grounded in Moreno.


Adam, please do not respond to this line by line, I am not interested in defending myself, clarifying my comments or getting into a back and forth about this. I find it tiresome.


With respect to ALL,





Rebecca Walters

Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute

156 Bellevue Road

Highland, NY 12528 


Please note new email address: hvpi at

Visit our website at: <>   



From: List [mailto:list-bounces at] On Behalf Of Adam Blatner
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 1:12 AM
To: David Moran
Cc: Grouptalk
Subject: Re: Psychodrama Needs Evidence-Based Research


Perhaps you're right. But scolding me is not an argument. 

   The reason that many so-called psychotherapies are statistically effective is because they work a little better than average. That "proves" something. The demand that all therapies live up to this standard doesn't allow for "cherry-picking" of people who want to work, folks who want to go adventuring.

     Anyway, I'm turning away from psychodrama as therapy and turning more to non-clinical applications, which I call "action explorations." 

    Worrying about whether it "works" to heal neurosis is not interesting to me. Can it be a useful tool for going on mental adventures for otherwise healthy people? 

     My interests are more toward applications not to treat (much less to cure) but rather

to help foster creativity in school and at work, and in many other non-therapeutic roles.

    I honor those who apply it clinically---don't get me wrong. It just doesn't interest me. 


How are you doin?   Warmly, Adam


On Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 11:36 PM, David Moran <davidfmoran at> wrote:

Adam your stance on "evidence based" approval is limited and deserves much more than to trivialize it to a CBT comparison.

Many of us like Bill have been calling for evidence based approval for at least 10 years that I know of.

EMDR, Seeking Safety, CBT for PTSD, IMR Dbt and a number of treatment models have met the standards of evidence based approval and are supported in agencies and Universities.

I have not been able to bring psychodrama trainings into our agency in over 5 years.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 25, 2017, at 11:18 PM, Adam Blatner via Members <members at> wrote:

I agree with Bill that evidence-based therapy is conquering most other forms of therapy. The reason is that 

   1. most people don't want therapy, to begin with

   2. CBT is the most rational, less disruptive form of therapy. It aims at just avoiding  going into depth psychology, the what of illusions and subtle delusions. 

   3. It doesn't work well,  but works better than real therapy that is meant for people who want therapy, who are really not more than half all people.

   4. If psychodrama is to get in the ranks it poses many problems. You sort of need to  go along with the process even more than with CBT. 


For these reasons and others----don't get me started---psychodrama and many other therapies besides are going to lose out. 


I have grave doubts that any researchers on other therapies find much different, except the fairly mechanical  approach.  warmly, Adam


On Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 9:57 AM, William H. Wysong via Members <members at> wrote:

Psychodrama workshops are getting severely beaten by various evidence-based workshops. A flyer arrived recently highlighting evidence-based trauma treatments and interventions; a two-day, 14 hour, workshop for $400. At the end of the two days the "seminar meets the education requirement when applying to become a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional." 


The workshop is advertised by and given by the International Association of Trauma Professionals ( It has a board of directors consisting of three people: and Ed.D, LMHC; a Ph.D, LMHC; and a public board member with an MBA. These very few "experts" can advertise as "evidence-based." ASGPP has many, better qualified people with much greater experience.


Psychodrama desperately needs evidence-based research and I'm at a loss as to what to do. Also I do not have the research skills nor a research group required for the task(s).


This need has been talked about for many years in the psychodrama community, yet nothing has been done. Our community will experience continued deterioration unless we do something.


What can be done? I'm willing to help in any way that I can.


…..Bill Wysong


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